By Frances O'Shea
Wyong’s two leading female trainers will go head-to-head in Saturday’s $150,00 Provincial Championships Qualifier. Kim Waugh and Kristen Buchanan, will have Manhattan Mist and Echo Effect respectively, vying for victory as the prestigious Provincial series kicks off.
The Kris Lees stable looks set to have a strong hand with eight horses among the 27 nominations.
The multiple Group-placed Echo Effect is listed as $8 third favourite for the $500,000 Final at Royal Randwick on April 14.
The four-year-old is resuming from a spell and coming off an impressive six-length trial win at Hawkesbury last Tuesday.
Manhattan Mist, who at $11 is on the third line of betting, will be shooting for his third successive win, after strong victories at Wyong and Hawkesbury.
Of the Lees team, Reach For Heaven and Just Dreaming look to be the strongest, with Japanese import Hallelujah Boy set to have his third Australian start after two trials. Lees said Just Dreaming and Australian Bloodstock’s Hallelujah Boy were definite starters at Wyong, while he was still deciding if Reach For Heaven would run.
“I’ve accepted for him at Rosehill on Wednesday but still haven’t finalised which way we will go,” Lees said. “I’m running Just Dreaming and Hallelujah Boy at Wyong. It is a nice option for them at this time, fitting in well with their programs. There could possibly be a couple of others but I’ll make a decision later in the week.”
Wyong's CEO, David Jewell, said with such strong nominations it was looking to be a very “high quality” heat.
“We are excited about the race with several local trainers having strong chances and other runners possibly come from as far as Canberra, Kembla and Hawkesbury. It is shaping up to be the best Provincial Qualifier to date,” Jewell said.
The club is expecting a big crowd with the Provincial Qualifier being run for the first time on a Saturday. The final field will be out Thursday morning.